Friday, 24 September 2010

06/09/2010 Selanovci - Balgarena (Distance 108km)

I wake tired thanks to a broken nights sleep. As I finish packing the farmer comes down the dirt track towards the main road. He doesn't stop to ask questions and infact only gives me a cursory glance. No harm done it seems. As I wheel my rig towards the main road I hear the sound of squirming rubber. My trailer tired is flacid and lifeless. I eat, repair the puncture and by 09.15 I am ready to roll. The straight road from lastnight continues all the way to Knezha. I stop at the supermarket for supplies. Lay my solar charger out in the sun and tuck into some waffles and milk. Intrigued by my setup a guy approaches and shakes my hand. His name is Tesi. With my bike packed once more I ask him for directions out of town. “No problem, follow follow”. We wind through the streets for a few minutes attempting to communicate. Tesi explains that the pollution is bad here and he can feel it in his lungs, he rides a bike to keep fit. Good on him. We climb the hill out of town and he points me in the right direction. Rather nice of him to spare some time for a directionless cyclist.

In Pleven I stop for lunch. Escaping the sun in the shade of a supermarket for half an hour. Having gobbled lots of chocolate I jump back on the bike to make the most of my sugar high. I get 2x successful directions out of town. Slowly coming round to this asking malarkey. If nothing else it forces an interaction. Some days this is the only verbal contact I have, and at such times I find it most valuable. Whether I know my way or not.

It feels good to be on the main road heading directly East. Each pedal stroke serving to push me further from home and all things familiar. I pass a group of guys in a layby. Nothing shady going on, they seem to be testing out a race tuned Yamaha R1. Popping wheelies and screaming up and down the road dodging trucks. I do like the sound of the new R1 and crave to feel the sensation of acceleration once more. They wave and cheer as I pass them.

The combination of long straight road, and oppressive heat is wearing. I resort to my ipod to occupy my mind. In the town of Balgarena I stop at a garage for a late lunch/early dinner. The pump attendant is very friendly and speaks a little English. I buy a bottle of Coke for some sugary goodness and sit on a bench outside with my bread and tuna. Two bikers on an afternoon blast stop to fill up. After doing so they approach for a chat. One guy rides an X11, the first I've seen, and speaks very good English. They have done several big European tours including the UK. They tell me camping anywhere in Bulgaria is fine and that I will have no problems. I decide to push my luck and ask the garage owner if I can set up on the garage grounds. After my night of canine company I'd like to sleep a little closer to civilisation tonight. My request is denied but he points me to the garage next door which is also a truck stop and bar. The owner speaks German and with awful pronunciation manage I secure a place to pitch me tent.

Behind the bar is an unused patio in need of a serious weeding session. It's perfect. The toilet is too small for a wash and the area is a little too public to “bottle shower”. I take the opportunity to play some guitar. My fingers are slow and clumsy. With sore fingertips I put the guitar way, head to the bar and try for some chat. Most folks appear to be leaving/returning to their trucks. Four days of no shower does little for the social life. With the last of the light I take my pew at the tables outside. Drinking some below average lager at below average prices I study my map.

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